A&P Needeabhelp and suggestions *looked for faq*

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Mycophiles, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. Mycophiles

    Mycophiles OT Supporter

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    I've been into astronomy for a while and would like to start taking pictures of the sky. I need a camera that will do timed exposures and high resolution but I'm not looking to spend my paycheck on it.

    I've looked around and there are TONS of different cameras. I've 'heard' great things about the Canon SLR's But, what price should I be expecting to buy one of these things at? (used) Should I get the 40d or will the 20d work or the Rebel? If anyone has a suggestion It would greatly be appreciated. I know you guys probably get this type of thread on a daily basis. :sadwavey:

    The camera will be used for astronomy 90% of the time.
     
  2. Zz_3.14_zZ

    Zz_3.14_zZ New Member

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    You've found the wrong hobby my friend. I was pricing a new 40d and the cheapest one I could find was a referb, body only, for $660 (I think). But thats not the part thats going to cost money. The lens is where you're going to fork out some Jr. Bacon Cheese burgers.

    Most people will spend lot of money on a good camera and then go cheap on lenses. Cheap glass = cheap pictures.

    But, a to get back to your question. Any of the camera you mentioned will work. If you're looking to do some long exposures, then anything with the 'Bulb' setting will work. I know for a fact that the Rebel XTi has that feature.

    But you're also going to need a tripod and remote trigger. Unless you wanna bring a laptop with you and use it for a remote trigger (using the software that came with the camera). You click the shutter from the PC and sit back and chill for 1, 2, 5 or 10 minutes then just click the shutter button again to stop it taking the picture.

    Hope that helps.

    link to cheap ass 40d

    http://www.tristatecamera.com/lookat.php?refid=279&sku=CANE40DR
    Reseller Rating = Lifetime Rating: 4.89 / 10
    Lifetime Reviews: 135


    PS
    IBreadstickies
     
  3. free_notes

    free_notes New Member

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    EWhytsell, get in here.
     
  4. Mycophiles

    Mycophiles OT Supporter

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    A friend at work has a 60D that he said he would sell me for 500$ and I know for a fact he has barely used it. He bought it he said for 700$ and said it would come with one lens. good deal?

    edit: and ohh... same hobby new feature. Take a look sometime at telescopes and the accessories. Take a look at eyepieces etc... same principle. Cheap glass = fuzzy skies. I'm digging the in the same hole... just deeper.
     
  5. themolsen

    themolsen New Member

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    the 60D isn't out yet or doesn't exist (not too up on my Canon hardware). and the Canon D60 is 7+ years old

    soooo.. I probably wouldn't buy from that guy
     
  6. MSTRBKR

    MSTRBKR New Member

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    Could he mean a Nikon D60? 500 USD is circa D60 price is it not?
     
  7. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    I was processing an astro image from last night :mamoru:

    For all the answers you can imagine try www.cloudynights.com Their forum is for you.

    Now if you want me to help you can pm me any questions you have or just ask away in here so everyone gets to read along.

    First thing to consider is what type of things you want to take pictures of.

    If you have a scope with a motorized mount then you can probably jump right in with a DSLR and start learning the ways of shooting deep sky objects.

    If your planning to shoot planets for awhile and then move to deep space I'll warn you that a DSLR is probably the worst camera for this task (well all, but the newest models that have video capabilities.) The reason is that you need hundreds and even thousands of frames of the planet to stack into a composite image to get high detail. Most of the guys doing images of planets are using a modified version of a web cam called a Philips TO U Cam (no joke.)

    I myself have a Celestron C8 on a AS-GT mount using a Canon 40D. I don't shoot planets though I took a quick pic of venus last night that I'll post when I get around to it. My thing is deep space objects, its a huge learning curve and I don't know when you can consider the hobby mastered, but its fun.


    So what kinda scope are you using now? Been sucky weather here for the past 3 months. Looks good for the next 10 days though so expect to see some images if all goes well for me.
     
  8. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    Oh more on cameras. As far as I know the 40D and I think the 20Da (if you can find one) are the oldest DSLRs canon made that have live view. This will be very important because focusing is very difficult and next to impossible without it when your starting out.

    Not to knock the Nikons, but in the astro world Canon has consistently
    been the camera of choice so tips, hacks, software compatibility are geared toward Canon 99% of the time in astro how to sites.

    Canon recognized this at one point and release the aforementioned 20Da. This camera had the IR filter removed from the CMOS assembly to aid in capturing the very dark reds that are present in many nebula and had live view to aid in fine tuning focus.
     
  9. Mycophiles

    Mycophiles OT Supporter

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    I have a Orion Skyquest XT8 Dobsonian reflector. I've had it for a while and have been an on again/off again stargazer. I've been a member of cloudynights for years. Last year I tried going through the messier objects but the base I built was too rickety to be very successfull. More frustration than I wanted.

    To remedy the situation (as it's really not the build of the base but more of a function problem) I'm going to put a couple motors on it and manually automate it. I haven't decided if I want to use stepper motors or not and have been trying to find software I can use. If I can find some stepper motor controlling software I can run from my laptop that would be ideal, but right now a couple motors attached with a reastat to vary the voltage (or more likely a pulse width modulator) is what looks like what will happen.

    Anyway, that's what I'm looking like with the scope. I'm pretty confident I can get it stable and automated. As far as the camera I was looking to start off taking time lapse photos and then move on to taking deep space photos when I can afford an attachment for my scope.

    I hadn't thought about looking at cloudynights as far as camera suggestions but it makes sense. The D40 price is a bit steep. I'm not a rich guy as you may have assumed from my scope plans but I'm technically inclined and I enjoy the process of creation. I wonder if the rebel xt 850 would do what I need but I'm assuming not as you pointed out an automated focusing ability is a must. I've heard the same from some other astronomers I've met here in Houston.

    Any knowledge you can throw at me is greatly appreciated.
     
  10. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    The XTi is a good low cost option. I"m thinking it doesn't have live view, but you can learn to focus, you'll just have to make something called a hartman mask to do it well.
    The XSi is a favorite right now for astrophotograhy due to it being nearly the same as a 40D minus a few features pros like such as metal construction.

    I got my scope about 20 yrs ago from a for sale ad in a newspaper. It was very cheap and perfect timing. Yeap I was a kid so actually my parents got it for me. The mount I purchased recently to help with astrophotography.
     
  11. Mycophiles

    Mycophiles OT Supporter

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I have some work to do on this but I'm not too worried. Hopefully, with a good base I can upgrade to a bigger dob. Maybe a 12" and without it being motorized I might be able to get it cheap. Someone really needs to write up some stepper motor controller software for the do-it-yourselfer. I like the idea of staying on a non-motorized scope until I learn the sky but I'd like to show off what I see to others. Like I said I'm not sure about connecting the camera to the scope but I assume it's possible. I'll take a look at the filter you suggested and read up on it. I"ll also take a look at the camera suggested.

    ps. you have any pics online you've taken? (saw venus)

    edit: wow, but looking at prices I might have to wait a while or until I get my tax returns. hmm... that ain't a bad idea. :blue:
     
  12. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    http://forums.offtopic.com/showthread.php?t=4141050

    Stepper motors are something I work with everyday, but I haven't attempted writing software to control them yet. Always thought about it though. Probably slightly complicated too.

    There are a few places that sell kits for dobs and also kits for about anything the DIY types want. cloudynights can point you in the right direction for sure.
     
  13. Mycophiles

    Mycophiles OT Supporter

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    Have you looked at the basic stamp and the arduino yet? I thought about using those to control them but the 16bit is a problem so gotta use something a bit beefier. I had done a search a while ago on cloudynights but I'll run over there again and take a look.
     
  14. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    I haven't looked at a basic stamp for years. Good idea though. If its been improved since I messed with it then it could be a very powerful interface. I used to build ISA devices to interface my computer with crap when I was a kid. Lots of fun and no time to do that stuff anymore.
     
  15. Mycophiles

    Mycophiles OT Supporter

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    The basic is 16 bit and has a hard time with fractions so programming wise it's not ideal. (or so I've been told by an acquaintance who has used them for a while and looked into it for me) I know enough about them but have not used one yet. I'm not sure about the arduino as it's newer. Apparently it's all the rage though. www.arduino.com / www.sparkfun.com. It's powerfull and open source. Some woman made something called the lillypad to pop onto of it that is a motor controller but it has a mA limit of 500.
     

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